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Transporting Lithium Batteries by Air

By: The CTS Team   •  

Lithium Battery Regulations

Electronics have become a regular part of our lives. We rely heavily on cell phones, computers, and other gadgets that make our day-to-day life easier. There have been a number of stories lately of incidents where something went very wrong with these electronics. While it does not happen often, lithium batteries pose a the risk of overheating and catching fire. In order to ensure the risks are contained and safety protocols are followed, it is important to stay current on the guidelines for transporting lithium batteries.


FAA’s Updated Regulations

As of March 2017, the FAA updated the regulations regarding the packing and shipping of lithium batteries in order align more closely with the international requirements. The new requirements change the markings and adopt a new label. Containers with lithium batteries will now display the updated markings indicating the UN number “UN3090” for lithium metal batteries or “UN3080 for lithium ion batteries. The new label must be rectangular with red hatch markings around the border. The text must be in black or white and displayed on a strong contrasting background. Additionally, the UN number and phone number for more information should be printed where the asterisk marks are located.

Lithium Battery Transport

The FAA has also updated the limitations for shipping small lithium batteries. 49 CFR 173.185c states, ”For transportation by aircraft, lithium cells and batteries may not exceed the limits in the following table. The limits on the maximum number of batteries and maximum net quantity of batteries in the following table may not be combined in the same package:”


All packages containing lithium batteries with 4 or more cells, or where items have two batteries installed, now must display the updated lithium battery markings.

Many of the items we use everyday contain lithium batteries. These personal items have different requirements to travel. The FAA recommends packing your personal electronics in your carry-on baggage. E-cigarettes are prohibited in checked bags at any time and must always be placed in your carry-on baggage. Check out the FAA’s website for a complete list of what is safe to pack and what you should leave behind.

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